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Compose music using Indian ragas


drillkicker
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I've been reading about Indian music and I'd be thrilled to be able to play around with the ragas and shrutis myself. Does anybody experience in setting up microtones in a way that would allow me to digitally generate them? It seems like it will be a complicated and frustrating process to generate tones with such intricate structures, so I could probably use some tips before I attempt it.

Edited by drillkicker
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I've been reading about Indian music and I'd be thrilled to be able to play around with the ragas and shrutis myself. Does anybody experience in setting up microtones in a way that would allow me to digitally generate them? It seems like it will be a complicated and frustrating process to generate tones with such intricate structures, so I could probably use some tips before I attempt it.

 

I was about to say that Indian classical music doesn't use microtones

And then I started to doubt myself

And so I started googling around to find some clarification

 

And then I realized that you were probably talking about just temperament...?

 

I mean, I would say that you could either:

a) forego just temperament altogether, or

b) painstakingly program the pitch-bend CC information for each note, or

c) find a synth that lets you switch tuning systems, or

d) use multi-sampled instrument with a keyboard sampler and manually tune each sample

 

I guess it depends how important it is to you

Edited by LimpyLoo
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The tones in Indian classical music are microtonal in that they're based on the smallest tonal intervals that can be heard, meaning there are many more of them, and therefore many more modes and rules accompanying them. Having every note split into 2-4 different tones is why I called it microtonal. It would take a very long time to program. I don't have a synth that does pitch bend, but I think it would be easier to just put the actual frequency values of the notes directly into an oscillator like I normally do. The thing is that generative sequences are going to be more difficult to set up due to how complicated the ragas are compared to the seven Western modes. It also doesn't help that all of the formal education I've had in music theory has been based on Western systems, and that Indian classical music theory is a mostly unfamiliar system to me.

 

But I think it would be much more interesting to program than regular MIDI notes because of the emphasis on improvisation in Indian music. It seems like a great system to use for generative music.

Edited by drillkicker
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EDIT:

 

I picked up this book a couple of years ago and it's very good but dense. There is a lot more to ragas than jsut the notes used in them, and this is aimed at serious students of North Indian classical theory so it goes farther than I and probably most an of us would really need. Great resource, though, particularly the chapters on the acoustic interaction between drone and raga.

Edited by RSP
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